Tyler, the Creator was celebrated at the WSJ. Magazine‘s 2019 Innovators Awards.
A$AP Rocky took the stage during Wednesday’s ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to present his friend with the Music Innovator Award.
“It’s an honor to present this award to my best friend today, but little do y’all know that I hate that motherf**ker, that’s the truth,” joked Rocky before getting serious. “He’s one of my inspirations. Even though he’s a friend. People don’t know this, but when we first came into the rap game, we didn’t even like each other. Our crews didn’t like each other. And now, being in hip-hop, I don’t identify with anybody but my real true family and friends. It’s an honor to present this award today.”
Rocky went on to pay tribute to the IGOR hitmaker. “He innovates, he changes music, not only that, just comedy, music, culture, television, entertainment, fashion, style,” he added. “It’s an honor to be here. I’m proud of you, bro.”
During his acceptance speech, Tyler reflected on feeling like an outcast throughout his life. “My whole life I felt like a stepchild, in school, at home, and especially in music and rap where I have a profession,” he said before recalling being rejected from basketball, drama class, and band class. “When all that happened, I said, ‘Fuck ’em.’ I didn’t let none of that shit stop me from doing anything I wanted to do.”
He acknowledged other Innovators including Pharrell, Kanye West, Hype Williams, Dave Chappelle, and André 3000. “I feel like we’re all free and we create from this honest place, this really honest space where we don’t give a fuck what no one says. And because of that, that’s why I always felt like a stepchild,” he said. “But WSJ. finally made it feel like that family was celebrating my birthday, so thank you.”
Tyler and Rocky didn’t start out as friends. After exchanging words online and in interviews, they eventually came together for a tour in 2015 and collaborated on several tracks including “Who Dat Boy” and “Potato Salad.”
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian honored Fashion Innovator Riccardo Tisci at the WSJ. Innovators Awards, while other honorees included Eddie Murphy, Melina Matsoukas, and Julianne Moore.